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The queue is dead, long live the Internet
Motorists will soon be able to pay traffic fines, register vehicles or book licensing tests in the comfort of their homes or offices through the Internet.

The long laborious queues at testing and licensing centres will (hopefully) be a thing of the past from Friday as motorists will be able to pay traffic fines, register vehicles or book licensing tests in the comfort of their homes or offices through the Internet.

While motorists who had booked their learner's and driver's licence tests this week were left irate as all licensing and testing centres are closed, the department of transport has promised that service delivery at these centres will improve with the installation of the new electronic National Traffic Information System (eNatis).

However, motorists who have been evading payments of their traffic fines will now have to settle these as traffic officers will now be able to see a motorist's traffic record - including every traffic fine - on the spot .

Department spokesperson Ntau Letebele said: "Traffic officers will now know what traffic fines are on the record of every motorist. In the past, motorists' records were kept separate in municipal or provincial traffic offices. Identifying stolen vehicles will also be easier and eNatis will make it almost impossible to register stolen cars."

Letebele said they wanted to improve the 14-year-old system and so enhance law enforcement.

He said: "The public will be able to pay their transactions over the Internet and by the use of ATMs. The system will also allow for the online registration of vehicles by financial institutions.

"The system will also provide a new module that will manage driver's and learner's licence bookings on an online real-time basis."

He said the eNatis system would generate more than R3-billion a year in revenue and will be used at more that 1 753 sites throughout the country performing about 40 000 transactions per hour.

The new driver's licence booking system will also validate examiners, testing centres and appointments, and prevent unscrupulous officials from abusing the system by extorting money from the public in exchange for licence appointments, said Letebele.

eNatis will eradicate the continuous falsification of vehicle licences, registration certificates and driver's licences by electronically tagging documents.

eNatis will be rolled out when Transport Minister Jeff Radebe launches it next Tuesday.

"In the build-up to the launch of the eNatis various role-players such as vehicle manufacturers, vehicle importers, vehicle builders, operators of vehicle testing stations and provincial representatives responsible for registering authorities and driver's licence testing centres were consulted," said Letebele.

But this has been little comfort to Garsfontein resident, Stan Benjamin, 67, who had just managed to book an emergency learner's test for his grandson on Thursday and will have to book another date.

"We have been trying to book a date for a bike learner's test at the Akasia licensing centre since August.

"Last month we had to pay an extra R120 for an emergency booking for April 12.

"We also paid R69 for the booking but since Akasia is now closed we need to book another date", said a livid Benjamin.

In the past, motorists got away without paying traffic fines incurred from municipalities in other provinces because the outdated Natis system was not linked nationally.

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